October 31, 2008

Don't run ahead

My desire was to marry him
and be his wife forever... I read a post by Lysa TerKeurst on Thursday called, "Has God ever hurt your feelings?". It totally broke my heart as I related to every word she wrote. I really recommend clicking on the link and reading it. If you have ever felt that God has disappointed you or let you down, this post will help. But then come back:)

Basically, when something goes wrong in life or we see good people "suffer", we always seek to find the answer. "Why God, why?"

What do we do when we don't see answers to our prayers? or when God tells us something that will come to pass in our lives, and years later, it still hasn't happened? Have you ever ran ahead of God to make something happen sooner, only to find yourself
flat on your face from tripping?

Reminds me of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 15:1-16:16 (then named Abram and Sarai). God told Abraham that he and Sarah were going to have a son to be an heir to their estates. O-kay, Moses is like ancient in years (he was very old), and Sarah was past child bearing years, but Abraham
believed what God promised.
Time passed and...well...no baby.
Sarah really wanted a baby and I think she got tired of waiting around for God to come through. Well, she talked to Abraham and convinced him to sleep with her maidservant, Hagar, so they could have a baby. Hagar did get pregnant, but suddenly she despised Sarah. Go figure! Isn't it amazing the attitudes that
creep in when we go outside of God's will???

Sarah then told Abraham, "Do something! You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering." Whereas, Abraham told her, "Hey, she's your servant, do with her whatever you think is best." Sarah mistreated Hagar, and Hagar left, now a soon-to-be single mother.

The outcome of their impatience and sin was Ishmael, Hagar's son. God comforted Hagar, but told her that, "Ishmael will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers."
Ouch!!! Didn't they have verses back then to say, "Hey, WAIT for God." (They really could have used some post-it notes!)

The story did eventually turn out well for Sarah and Abraham; however, because of their impatience and their desire to do things "their" way, they struggled before they had a baby of their own. On top of that, because they ran ahead of God, their actions also affected the life of a woman named Hagar, her son Ishmael,
and eventually, birthed generations of rebellious people.

Without going in-depth, I ran ahead of God to marry, whom I believed was, the man of my dreams. We created 2 beautiful children, and that, I do not regret!!! Our oldest came in 1996, and our youngest came in 2000, but we did not marry until 2004. To keep things simple (because I will not speak badly of him here), our divorce should be final in a couple of months.

So, back to Lysa's post, which I strongly encourage you to read, I have been stuck on the "Why God???" for so long that my heart breaks. Lysa said instead of saying "why", to say
"O-kay, now what?"

See, I believe God holds my future in His hands and NOTHING touches my life without a purpose. So since God knows my future and also my past, then I need to trust Him with my present, and say, "O-kay God, where are we headed now? What do you have in store for the boys and I now?"

God sees...He knows...cares...loves...cries with us...comforts...and holds our dreams in His hands...

So, Lord, I give back this desire to be his wife, because if this isn't the plan for my future, then you have something greater. Please let me hear your voice clear, so that I will not run ahead of you
again, and hurt so many people by rushing into
something never meant to be.
In Jesus' name, ~Amen

(*Note: marriage is sacred, and I, by no means, am saying, "Go divorce your spouse." There are issues that I will not disclose because he, too, is a child of God and only God can judge Him. Divorce is something I would NOT wish upon ANYONE, especially with children. It goes back to choices and doing God's will, because your choices do not affect only you,
no matter what you may think!)




October 30, 2008

Choose

I want to say...
my heart feels like this...

(flowers a friend got me yesterday)

...but today...
my heart feels like this...
(picture taken today of my back yard)
When a girl feels like this
what is she to do?

1 Chronicles 16:22 says
,
"Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
proclaim His salvation day after day."

Psalm 21:22 says,
"I will declare your name
to my brothers (& sisters),
in the congregation
I will praise you."

Psalm 20:7 says
,
"Some trust in chariots
and some in horses,
but we {I} will trust in the
name of the Lord."

Psalm 27:14 says
,
{I will} "Wait for the Lord;
{I will} be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord."


Psalm 31:14 says,
"But I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, 'You are my God.'"

Psalm 62:5 says
,
"Find rest, o my soul,
in God alone;
my Hope comes from Him.


No matter what my heart feels like, I have the choice to turn my thoughts back to God or to lie in my pit of despair. If Jesus died so my joy can be complete and so that I can learn to be content in all situations, then I want to live in that. However, there are days we have to CHOOSE life and joy over despair.


God has pulled us out of the miry clay; therefore, it is our job not to jump back in. God will continue to pull us out, but what is fun about jumping back into the pit where we came from? I'm tired of allowing my circumstances to determine whether or not I have joy.

It seems like the more posts I put on this blog, the more things come against me. That's because not only does God know my destiny, but the enemy is beginning to figure it out as well.

Well, I've lived long enough as a victim of theft from the enemy, and today, I CHOOSE to rejoice because THIS IS THE DAY that the Lord has made. And in the Name and blood of Jesus Christ, I stand!

As a closing note, in the above verses, I highlighted some words. Those are "Choice" words. They are "action" words. They are "fighting" words!

Be blessed today and don't let the enemy steal your joy or your destiny!"

Love ya, Heav

October 29, 2008

Post-it notes


This is a picture taken last year of my boys playing a prank on their mom. I LOVE post-it notes!
They are so easy to stick somewhere and since I have a short memory thing going on, it helps me keep track of what's going on in my life.

Appt. at 10:00...get milk...God will provide...Don't forget to pick up boys from school today...call mom...coffee is ready, just turn on...Garbage day is today...Grounded from PS2...Take your medicine...Don't forget library books...Take a shower today...

I also use them to help my kids remember as well, although they keep insisting they don't need reminding. Even though they don't "need" them, they complain when I haven't left them a note.

I'm not sure when I started this, but everyone has grown accustomed to my little notes around the house. In my bathroom, I have notes on my mirror of "Who I am in Christ" and across from where we sit in that particular room, I have verses and declarations on the wall to speak while waiting to be done in that room:)

On my cupboards, I have verses and reminders for myself as well. As I go out the front door, I have a "declaration for my home" prayer which reminds me that this is God's home and I have authority in Christ Jesus to keep it God's home. Going down the hall to my youngest son's room, I have 4 or 5 verses on fear for him to look at when he is afraid. Those verses are also for me when I worry about the things going on in my boys' lives and feel out of control.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says: "Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your strength. These commandments that I give to you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on your doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

I think Moses knew the importance of constant reminders and meditating on God's commandments and His love. We are quick to forget what God has done for us, and need to impress the love of God into our hearts. As a child, we don't have to be trained to disobey, but we do have to be trained to be obedient. What do you need God to impress on your heart today that will lead you one step closer to becoming all that God wants you to be?

*I think Moses would love post-it notes:) Well, actually pen and paper as well.

~Walking through God's grace, Heaven

October 28, 2008

FREEDOM!!!

First, I have to start out by saying, "WOO HOO! I got the job!!!" Praise God! I go in tomorrow to fill out papers, etc.

O-kay, now that I got that out...I have had this song running through my head all day, so I'm going to go with the flow. The song is called "Freedom", words by Matt Bushard. I'm not totally sure who sings it, but it is way COOL, and emphasizes what God has been speaking to me about (Standing in the authority of Jesus Christ and taking back what the enemy has stolen)

FREEDOM
I cry freedom from the chains
that bind our children.
Freedom from the chains
that bind our praises.
Freedom from the lies
of the enemy, freedom..
This is verse 1 of this song, and it's the part I love the most.
Galations 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
I once tore that verse down word by word, and it was amazing what God showed me through that. In my Bible, next to the word "burdened", I wrote "entangled". Oh, doesn't that sound like a word associated with webs and spiders (yesterday's post)? It is no accident that God brought me back to this verse today.
I recently shared with my new friend, Paulette, that I know I have been set free and delivered of many things in my life; however, I wasn't quite sure how to walk in that freedom. The visual picture I used was a bird who has been caged for so long, and now the door is open. There is total freedom for the bird to fly out of its cage, yet fear keeps the bird away from the open entrance, and keeps it from fulfilling its purpose.
How many of us fear flying out of the "comfortable" cage which we have been accustomed to. Whether you once flew and ended up with broken wings, or never got the chance to fly at all because you were caged and locked up, it's time to fly and leave the cage behind!
It is for freedom that Christ set us FREE!!! Christ died on the cross so we could declare "FREEDOM from the chains that bind our children, FREEDOM from the chains that bind our praises, FREEDOM from the lies of the enemy, FREEDOM!!!"
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!" John 8:36
Do not let the enemy steal your God-given purpose and destiny! Jesus has SET YOU FREE! Embrace that freedom and step into the royal position God has called you to. Declare, in the name of Jesus, FREEDOM.
Yes, you will have to fight for it; however, we already have read the last chapter of the Book, and we know that we know that we know GOD WINS THE WAR!

October 27, 2008

Spiders

I have a confession to make. Ready? O-kay.

I cannot STAND spiders. I mean really and totally ewwwww! Ewwww again. At the sight of those spiney creatures, my whole body gets tingly and I get shivers down my spine.

As much as they drive me nuts, I have to smooooosh them. [Sorry for those spider lovers or the people who believe in 'catch-n-release']. If I do not go after them, I will freak out for the rest of the day, feeling like they are crawling all over me.

Unfortunately...my boys don't like spiders either (wonder where they could have got that from???)

My 8-year old is petrified of them to the point that the fear paralyzes him. If he sees a spider, he is on 'anxiety mountain' for the rest of the day.

About 6 months ago, I was soooooooo tired of his reaction over a simple spider, so I prayed out of frustration, "Lord, PLEASE let me find all spiders before he does, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!"

PRAISE REPORT: I found EVERY spider before Dylan had a chance to find it!!! Isn't God wonderful?

Ummm...one problem...I...umm...am...afraid of spiders too...

So, what is a mom to do? Oh, the agony over this simple decision.

  1. Do I suck it up, quickly and quietly get rid of the spider before he sees it, or...
  2. Do I scream, "Ahhhhh! Spider! Run for the hills. Somebody kill it. Don't let it get me!" or...
  3. Ignore it and hope I don't run into it later.

Three options, two afraid people, and one spider...

I prayed, God answered, therefore, I don't think option #2 would be good.

I could ignore it, but it could multiply, get lost, and I would run into again sometime, PLUS all its babies. So option #3 isn't for me either.

Ding! Ding! Ding! The winner is option #1: face up to my own fear to protect my child, and smoooosh the spider as bravely (and as quietly) as I can.

That is what I have done, tackle one spider at a time, all for the sake of love. The wonderful thing is that it's not as scary as the first time, and I am overcoming my fear as well.

When I see a spider, I keep my eyes on it (to make sure it doesn't run away) until I have something in my hand to 'smoooosh' it. I strategically plan my attack so that I know I will not miss it.

"SMOOOOOSH"...Gone until the next one.

I have been seeing 'spider webs' not only in my house, but also in the fruit of my family. Areas of my life and my children's life where the enemy has taken ground, and negatives have come forth as a result.

As I write about this simple spider story, God is correlating it with the negatives residing in this household, and in the lives of my children: fear, anxiety, rebellion, low self-worth, etc.

I have wiped the 'webs' away through discipline or correction, yet haven't gotten rid of the 'spider' who continuously weaved them.

God is speaking that it is time to stop ignoring this 'spider', and start strategically praying it out of the foundation of their lives, one prayer at a time.

So, spiders beware! I'm on the loose, and ready to 'smooooosh'!!!

October 26, 2008

Light


"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14- 16

Is your attitude reflecting your Savior's light? Do you grumble, complain, and whine or do you serve as if you are serving your Lord and King? Does your attitude illuminate Christ's love for a broken world?


Do you actions mirror Jesus's walk on earth? Do you stand out from the crowd? Do your actions draw people closer to Jesus?


Are the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart different from those of the world? Are you persecuted because you don't swear and gossip, or because you preach the gospel at work?

Would Jesus be honored with the images or type of music you allow into mind? Can you honestly justify a Rated R movie for adventure when every other word takes our Holy God's name in vain? Or what about the fantasy, arousal or sexual comments that are apparent in most television shows on mainstream cable.


Our world has become de-sensitized. Our children have become exposed to soft pornography, violence, & broken homes from affairs, drugs, etc, through our media, and unfortunately, some through their own homes.


Are we really being a bright light to the world or has our flame burned out? Are we flickering just enough so that people know we are there or are we out loving our families, neighbors, friends, and strangers with the full-power light of God.


I, too, have to ask myself if I am being all that God has called me to be. Am I lukewarm and a little bit excited about God, or am I on fire, passionate, blazing hot for God, and sharing my testimony every chance I get? Which do I do more of: judge or love? Do I speak more of condemnation or grace?


As I was watching this candle burn, all these questions came into my mind. I want people to look at me and say, "Wow, I want what she has!" I want to be different and stand out among the crowd as one who experienced God, met Him face-to-face, and was a testimony of His awesome changing power.


~Lord Jesus, Let me be a light unto the world that reflects You! Weed out anything in my life that is weakening my flame. More of You Lord, and less of me. In Jesus' name, Amen~

Psalm 1:1-3

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. What ever he does prospers."

Psalm 1:1-3

October 24, 2008

Bounty

This morning before I rushed out the door to two job interviews, God brought me to Jeremiah. I do not claim to know the history or background of many books of the Bible. History, in school, was not one of my strong subjects; therefore, I don't debate theology in scriptures. I simply write what God says to me through the verses He brings me to.


Lately, I have found myself in Isaiah and Jeremiah of the Old Testament. God has shown me many promises regarding my children and I in these books. Now I know that all promises in the Bible are for every believer, but I love it when God personalizes those promises for me during the season of my life that I need it.


God began showing me some of the turmoil that will be coming to this country, and I immediately became discouraged. I do not like turmoil, storms, or struggles. My theory is this: "Can we all just go to heaven already?" Okie-dokie, let's just say that doesn't get me very far, since I'm still rapidly typing this, and I've prayed that prayer a million times.

Since I have been blogging, God has totally assured me that I do not have to fear the storms or the trials set before me. As I live my life in obedience, God does the rest. God truly is in control!!!


So as I sat discouraged, the Lord reassured me with these verses in Jeremiah.


Jeremiah 31:2 "The people who survive the sword will find favor in the desert; I will come to give rest to Israel." The reason this verse means something is that I have been in a time of refining and pruning. So much, that I grow weary and faint...which...leads me to the next scripture He gave me...


Jeremiah 31:25 "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Praise God for that!!!

I then asked God, "What about this judgment coming to our nation? I can barely make it right now." God then led my eyes to the same page in chapter 31, verse 14:


"I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty," declares the Lord.

That word bounty bothered me. Well, not really bothered me, but made me wonder exactly what it meant. So...yep, you guessed it, I went to my dictionary.

BOUNTY- Something that is given liberally; a reward, a payment; generosity, goodness; a premium or reward; a generosity in giving. (synonyms: bonus, compensate, recompense *my favorite word, by the way*)

I looked further up in the same chapter to verses 12-14. Again, the NIV used bounty in verse 12: "They come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord-the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more..."


Once again, I left my house reassured and comforted by God's Word. God is good...all the time.

~Daily living in His presence



October 21, 2008

Indescribable!

God is sooooooo amazing! I have been all over "cyber-blogs" lately and have just been blessed beyond blessed. I have been encouraged by people writing posts just for me. (O-kay, so not really, but they may have well been doing just that because everything spoke so loudly to me.)

I am so overwhelmed by my Heavenly Father's love for me. Life is moving forward, and God is leading the way, one baby step at a time. I am learning to dance in the rain, instead of being afraid of the storms in my life. Although it is lightning and thundering around me, God is downpouring on my heart His goodness and faithfulness.

I love Chris Tomlin's song, "Indescribable".
  • "From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea, creation's revealing Your Majesty. From the colors of fall to the fragrance of Spring, every creature unique in the song that it sings. All exclaiming!

  • Indescribable, uncontainable, You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name. You are amazing God. All powerful, untameable, awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim that You are amazing God!
In the second verse it says, "who has told every lightning bolt where it should go???" Our God does this! Our God aligns the stars and has set the foundation of the earth before it was ever in place. As I look at Chris Tomlin's song, I am reminded of Job's encounter with the Lord in Job 38-41.

In Job 42:1-3, Job said to the Lord: "I know that YOU can do ALL things; NO plan of YOURS can be thwarted...surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know!"

Oh my! Some days, we really do not understand our storms and their purposes, but let's declare with Job and say to the Lord:

"You, Lord, truly are the blessed controller of ALL things, and YOU are the Master of the blueprints for my life! I choose to stand firm on Your promises which You have declared in Your holy Word!!!"

Woo! God is good ALL THE TIME! May the Indescribable, incomparable, unchangeable, untameable, uncontainable, ALL powerful, amazing God show up in your life today!!!

I pray for your eyes and heart to be open to see that He is near you in your storms.

~Simply Amazed~

October 17, 2008

Counterfeit Bisquits

I made cheesy garlic bisquits from scratch last night for supper. My children loved them, and I was so proud of myself for tickling their tastebuds! In my house, we have three picky eaters, myself included, so when a meal comes and goes without any complaints, I have mastered my cooking skills.

I love to bake, but the cooking department in my life isn't so great. There are a selection of dishes that I have made my own, and people rave over; however, at the majority of our mealtimes, I am reminding my children how we need to be grateful for "mom's creative dishes" because there are children who do not have food to eat. Why is it that complaining comes natural for us, but we have to be diligent at mastering gratitude? Anyway, that could be another blog post.

My friends know my meal menus don't include much "from scratch" meals, so when I tell them I created something, they are very proud of me. As I was telling a friend about my accomplishment last night, she asked how I made them. I happily shared with her my recipe:

2 cups Bisquit mix, 2/3 cup milk, garlic powder, and shredded cheese

I think she attempted not to laugh, but it didn't work too well. She giggled as she said, "Heaven, that's not 'from scratch'. You cheated when you used the bisquit mix. You just made counterfeit bisquits silly." Bubble bursting...bubble popped...bubble gone.

Oh, how could she even say that! Of course, as I always tend to do, I started defending my recipe and stating that it, indeed, was from scratch (for me at least). She laughed some more, and then told me, "O-kay, if it makes you feel better, you just keep telling yourself that you created the real thing. Maybe your definition of "from scratch" needs re-defined."

Although our conversation was light-hearted and silly, I woke up this morning wondering what else in my life was counterfeit. Were there standards I had defined in my life to suit me or my conscience? Did I have some definitions in my life that needed re-defined? Have I "drawn the line" of my morals in the correct place, or have I been trying to re-allign it's position? So many question arose from my counterfeit bisquits.

I wonder how many times I have counterfeited my Christianity. I wonder if God has grieved over my "fakeness", when I truly believed I was living the "real thing". How often have I said Jeramiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future," only to go home and declare, "oooooohhhhh Lord, woe is me, why are You out to get me? Lord, nothing is going right, and life isn't fair and I'm soooooo depressed."

I don't want to forge God in my life anymore, and I am saddened by recollections of times when I have counterfeited my position as a Christian. "I'm a Christian! I believe in God! I love God with all my heart and soul! I love my neighbor as myself! etc.", yet I turn around and speak abruptly to my child.

Mark 7:8-9: You have let go of the commands of God and are holding onto the traditions of man. 9 And he said to them: You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to 'set up' your own traditions!

Heavenly Father, I don't want to be like the Hypocrites whom Mark was speaking to. I want to be the "real deal". I want to shine as one of Your children. When people look at me, I want them to see Your heart shining through me. Thank you for Your refiner's fire that continues to mold and shape me. I repent of being counterfeit, and I pray that you would sweep my heart clean of anything not of You. Show me the areas where I have set up my own set of rules, and help me to live according to Your standards. Make me an authentically beautiful daughter of God to be used for Your glory! In Jesus' name, Amen~

~Learning to be 'real'

October 16, 2008

Daddy's eyes

Life has never has been and it never will be about us and our rights; however, somewhere in life's journey, we believed the lie that said it is "all about me". This week, I made a horrible comment to my sister about a woman regarding the line of work she does. We're not talking about a "little bad" comment, we're talking about the "Oh-my-goodness-you-call-yourself-a-Christian-!-How-could-you-even-say-such-a-thing" comment.

I knew, in my heart, that once I said those words, I could never take them back. I was speaking truth...or at least believed I was. Because of past hurts, I felt a right to say what I did. For about a year, I have harbored animosity toward her because of her occupation, and the way she mishandled her beauty.

I quietly obliged my sister as she gave me a lecture over the phone about my comment, when suddenly, I felt the "look". Now, every parent has a "look", and every child knows exactly what that "look" means. In different families, it means different things; however, when I get the "look", it's from my Heavenly Father. (It is the expression I sense from God, that if I could truly see His eyes, that's what they would look like)

Ewww! I don't like the "look" because that "look" meant that I did something wrong. I tried ignoring it, because then I would have to take back what I just said, and I was not about to do that. "I'm sorry, God," I thought, "but my comment was totally justified! You call us to speak 'sin as it is' and that's just what I did." (CAUTION: Do not attempt this in your own prayer life. You will reap what you sow!)

Ignoring the "look" does NOT work. The parent's look just gets stronger and more piercing. If their eyes could inflict physical correction upon the child, rays of "Don't you make me come over there!" would be flying across the room.

"But God!" I said. "You've seen everything I've gone through, and you know why I said this and...(excuse after excuse trying to defend my sin)...I have EVERY right to say what I did!" (Ooh, ouch...Here comes the part where the parent stands up, starts walking towards you, and you know that you are IN trouble!)

"Right??? It is your right is to slander one of my precious children??? Since when are you anyone's God or Holy Spirit??? And what makes you the Judge of her life??? Have I not called you to love, and build up people? Did I not love you when I found you in the miry clay? Did I not give you grace everytime you fell? Did I not bring you through that hurtful situation? Did I ever give you permission in my Word to say what you just said?"

Don't get me wrong. God is a loving and just God. He is soooooo graceful and full of mercy, but we would be lying to ourselves if we said God was just a bunch of "mushy-gushy" feelings. He disciplines those He loves, calling them to maturity, allowing situations to arise so we can be pruned.

I think God has a point where He gets tired of the same thing over and over. Based on examples in the Bible (Sodom and Gomorrah, Noah and the flood, Jonah refusing to go to Ninevah and getting swallowed by a whale), I believe He eventually says, "That's enough of that (attitude, disobedience, behavior, abuse, etc.). We need to deal with this now, not later."

Well, this was my moment, face-to-face with God. I couldn't hide, and I couldn't justify my actions. MY wrong had been called out, and my sin had been called sin. Once again, God brought me to repentance because of His great love for me, so that the work done on the cross would not be in vain.

~Lord, mold me and finish this work in me that You have started. I strive to be more like You, yet I still fall so short. Help me to walk in Your ways and plans for my life, and help me to love and see others with Your eyes and heart. May I have more of You, so there will be less of me! Thank you again for the cross. In Jesus' name, Amen~


October 14, 2008

WANTED...

God is looking for men and women...

Who fear nothing but God.
Who are totally committed to God, regardless of what others think or say.
Who desire, above everything else, an intimacy with the Lord.
Who long to know Him, regardless of the cost.
Who are prepared to break tradition for the sake of obedience.
Who won't sell out to fame or fortune.
Who have died to carnal ambitions.
Who no longer measure their success by the world's standards.

God calls all Christians to enroll in the school of His Spirit-He longs for us to grow in maturity and intimacy with Him so we can fulfill His purposes for us and for our generations. For too long we have been like the child who desperately clings to his mother's leg when facing the first day of Kindergarten, stubbornly refusing to move on to the next level of spiritual maturity. There is a stirring in the body of Christ- a call to put away childish things, pick up our weaponry, and go to spiritual war. Church of God Arise!
(Taken from "For God's Sake, Grow Up! A spiritual call to maturity" by David Ravenhill)

Once again...

Lord, once again I thank You for the cross! The post listed yesterday didn't actually get done until this morning. I started last night, and with many searching questions, I finally finished it about 9:30 a.m. I am saddened because not even 5 hours later, my heart and soul is once again dissatisfied.

Once again, I approached God with the same concerns and complaints. "God, this is too hard. This isn't fair. I needed this miracle yesterday, why isn't is here yet. Are You really going to provide?" etc., etc., and etc.

It's no wonder God calls us sheep! Did you know that sheep are not very smart animals? Why do you think they need a Shepherd? They wander off where they aren't supposed to. They get themselves into prickly situations, so they constantly need someone to herd them back in and keep them in the fence. They need someone to constantly call out their name: "Sheep 99, Get over here! Didn't you learn about that wolf the last time you started to stray from the herd?" O-kay, so that is obviously an exaggeration, but come on, why can't I get it? Lord, help me...

I want to be the kind of woman who never wavers, never gives into fear and anxiousness, never allows the enemy to even get a centimeter of my thoughts. Lord, I want the meditations (thoughts) of my heart and mind to be pleasing to You, yet I am constantly fearful about the same old things. I worry about tomorrow and how I will get milk, bread, and gas. I worry about the job that I can't find. I worry about the bills getting paid so I don't get disconnected. I worry about the field trip fee due next week. Father, I don't want these to be worries. I don't want to doubt Your faithfulness. I want to stand at all times, and say, "I know who my Father is, and He is a God without any lack for my provisions!"

I know Your Word says that I am more important to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, and yet, they are satisfied! They don't lack. The birds do not go around worrying, "Oh, no, where is my next worm going to come from?" The lilies don't say, "Oh, no, what if my petals don't come on time?" I am MORE important than them, and God tells me that I am not to be..."anxious for anything...and not to worry about tomorrow...and that He is my Provider...and that He is a Father to the Fatherless, and therefore, will take care of my children."

Is this about faith? Trust? Hope? Is it about believing that even if it's 12:01, and God hasn't arrived yet, I still need to declare that He will show up? I can handle the 11:59, the minute before something is needed. But when it's 12:01 and later, I panic. I begin to doubt and waver and try to figure a way to take care of it myself. God, is this why I am on this journey?

Lord, forgive me once again...You are NEVER late and never slow concerning Your promises! Your timing is not my timing, yet You are ALWAYS on time because You hold the master plan and are in control of every detail. You are not surprised by anything, past, present, or future. Please grant me Your peace that surpasses all understanding as I wait upon You. Thank You for daily taking care of my family and I. No matter what happens, I choose to trust, hope, believe, have faith, and be grateful for what You have already provided. Thank You for calling my name and calling me Your child. Once again, I rest in Your arms, and trust that all things work out for good because I am Your child.

Thank You for loving this sheep! In Jesus' precious name, Amen

October 13, 2008

Dissatisfied

God has been dealing with me on a few issues, and basically, I'm being refined in several areas. Praise God! If you're looking for an orderly post today, this will not be one of them.

In church on Sunday, our Pastor received a word of correction for the body of Christ. We were singing "Once again" by Michael W. Smith when he received a word of correction from the Lord. We sang..."Once again I look upon the cross where you died. I'm humbled by your mercy and I'm broken inside. Once again, I thank you. Once again, I pour out my life. Thank you for the cross..."


The correction was that... "God was grieved because we had become dissatisfied with Him."


We sung the words, but that's all they were: nice, fuzzy words. Most Christians have become dissatisfied with God. We say the right cliches, verses, phrases, prayers, but our passion has diminished.


We question God and complain waaayyyy too much. "Why do I have to go through this?", "Don't you see how much I've been through?", "If I am Your child, why...", "God, can the rapture just come already?", "It isn't fair! Why do I have to be humble when so-and-so doesn't have to be?", "Why aren't you dealing with her, why does it always have to be me?", "Lord, this person totally knows how to irk me, would you just hurry and change her?" and so forth. I'm sure you have a few questions yourself. Guilty!


Hello!!!!! God allowed Jesus, His precious Son, to be brutally beaten, viciously whipped, and painfully hung upon a cross so that NONE of us should have to perish, and burn to a crisp in hell forever. (Silence...o-kay, is anyone still with me???) Blunt? Yes, very! True? Absolutely!


We say we are grateful, but are we really? Have we become like the Israelites who received daily Manna, and yet still complained. They still wanted more because they were dissatisfied. They'd forget the miracle from the day before, and wake up to worry, "Oh God, what are we going to do today? How are we going to get food? what about...?"


Hello again! Did God not forget the day before? Do you think He can do it again? Were they not His people whom He took care of? Had manna ever fallen from the sky before? God gave them miracle after miracle after miracle, and yet, they still didn't get it.


If God wrote our story today, would He be saying the same things about us?


God could have rescued Jesus on the cross. He could have even reached down and whispered a word of comfort to Him as He was being beaten? He could have killed everyone around Jesus, and avenged His son. But no...He didn't. He was silent. So quiet, that Jesus cried out to Him, "Daddy, where are You?"


God loved You and I soooooooo much, He chose, (and I emphasize CHOSE), to let His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the only Son He had, be tortured and beaten until flesh fell off, then hung on a cross.

Am I willing to say, "Father, if I never get another good gift from you again, the cross is enough." Thank you for the cross. Thank you for the cross, thank you for the cross, my friend!

Oh Heavenly Father, forgive me for becoming dissatisfied with You. I repent because I have become like the Israelites by feeling like I need more and more things in order to be happy and content. Lord, I have forgotten the basics of what you did on the cross. I fall to my knees in humility and declare that the cross IS enough. Help me to walk out my life with that gratitude engrained in my heart. I choose not to become dissatisfied because life doesn't seem to be going how I think it should be going. I choose to not complain because I have the greatest gift you have ever offered: eternal life. Thank you for the cross!!!

Dear friends~ As I write my posts, I simply am processing what the Lord is laying on my heart. This is my journey of God speaking to me, and in no way, is meant to condemn anyone. I have been going around the same mountain for years, just in different scenarios, and for me, God is telling me, "O-kay, let's move on. Quit whining and complaining because that only keeps you stuck. Fall completely in love with me again, and quit worrying so much."

When we first start a love relationship with someone, we can't wait to spend time with them. We sneak away just to get a glance of them. We hold hands and butterflies soar throughout our tummy. After time, those feelings become mundane: the same thing over and over, we quit seeking out the other person so much, and we just live our life, day by day, in routine.

God is still so in love with us, and He's sad that we have lost our passion. Let's run after God with all we have and be o-kay because He loves us. He has promised to take care us. Cuddle up with Daddy God, and let Him love on you!

October 11, 2008

Healing in Aisle 9

Have you ever gotten the feeling that you should talk to someone or help someone you see throughout your day? Maybe an elderly man who is exhaused from mowing his lawn or shoveling his driveway? Or a child trying to open a difficult door? Or what about an older woman who is obviously struggling to put groceries in her car? A teenage girl whose eyes are red and swollen from sobbing over the latest tragedy in her life? A past acquaintance who has clearly been afflicted by life's circumstances? My favorite~ A young mother with two, overly-hyper, energetic boys who are re-creating WWII in the middle of a very busy supermarket. (I actually lived this when my boys were younger!)

My 8-year old son, Dylan, and I went to the grocery store this evening to buy a few items we needed: milk, bread, etc. As always, we were calculating the prices, finding the bargains, selecting the head of lettuce that looked the healthiest, and weighing our single tomato. Shopping with him is very routine: he pushes his little cart; chooses the best looking produce; asks the same questions- "Mom, can we get hot pockets, pizza rolls, yogurt, chips, ice cream?"; I reply with the same answers- "no, no, not this time, no, not today"; I always know what to expect when we go shopping together. It's great.

Tonight wasn't that much different, except we were approached by a woman who needed help. Everyone knows little boys love a chance to be a superhero. Dylan is no exception. He loves to help and loves to be needed (for the most part). An elderly woman asked if he would help her put some pop into her cart, and explained that lifting anything heavy would make her back "go out". I questioned what happened, and she proceeded to tell me all about her medical issues.

She had arthritis throughout her body, several disks in her back had deteriorated, and despite many treatments, doctors told her there is nothing they could do for her anymore. Everyday, for the rest of her life, she would continue to be plagued with excruciating pain in her joints and muscles. I wished her well, and not having a clue of what else to say, Dylan and I turned and proceeded to the milk aisle.

Immediately, and I mean immediately, I knew I was supposed to go back and pray for her healing. "Oh Lord, I have no idea what to pray and what if it doesn't work and what if people see me and what if she tells me no and what if...what if...what if...???" By this time, we reached the milk isle. From past experience, I knew if I ignored God and told him I wouldn't pray for her, I would feel a deep sadness in my heart, regretting it.

I know the feeling of that deep sadness all to well. See, this sort of thing has happened to me before. I'd see someone and know I was supposed to share Jesus' love with them or pray for them, or even encourage them...but chose not to because I was afraid of what they would think of me.

Time and time again, I have passed up opportunities to share God's unfailing love with people because of fear. How many people have gone without a touch from God because of my disobedience? O~u~c~h!!! Granted, God will use other people; however, what if what they truly needed is what was held in my experiences or in my heart that God wanted to share with them?

God has purposed each one of our lives, and he has purposed me to be an encourager, and a voice of comfort to those wounded and brokenhearted. The ironic thing is that hurting people hurt others. Satan knows that as well; and therefore, the people I reached out to comfort, in return, wounded and lashed out back at me. That wore on my "rejection meter" pretty heavily after awhile, and recently, I quit comforting, noticing, hearing, speaking, and praying.

I let myself become numb to my feelings, because then people couldn't hurt me. Heck, I couldn't even hurt me anymore with my self-rejection and condemnation for not "doing things right". As I became numb to my feelings, I was able to block out the pain I saw in those around me. By doing that, I couldn't connect, and therefore, they couldn't hurt me.

Whew! I had no clue that this blog post was going here. You are definitely experiencing an honest moment between God and I as I am writing. I have been in a "funk" for about a couple months, more so in the last 3-4 weeks. I've been telling everyone I'm fine, life's good, I'm just tired, pray for me, etc. Life has not been fine...or fun...or productive. To clarify, what I said in the above paragraph provided me with an explanation of what is going on with me.

I have asked people to pray for me, but I haven't been praying. I have needed encouragement, but I have not been encouraging. I've needed to feel something, anything, - but I forced myself to stop feeling. I've have been asking God: "What's my purpose and why aren't I making a difference," when I've allowed Satan to stomp on and snuff out my God-given purpose. I have been sleeping all the time because I'm exhausted, yet I am escaping from reality.

Anyway, back to our store experience. I'm not sure what was different about tonight, but Dylan and I decided we needed to pray for the lady who we helped. We courageously turned our carts around, followed the woman down aisle 9, and asked her if we could pray for her. I told her that I believe in the healing power of Jesus Christ, and that between Dylan and I, we had the faith to pray for God to completely heal her.

With the permission of our new friend, Carol, we placed our hands on the center of her back, closed our eyes, and in the center of Aisle 9, we prayed the most sincere prayer we've ever prayed. As we said "Amen", I glanced up to see tears fill her eyes. She said thank you, and Dylan and I walked to the checkout knowing that God just performed a miracle.

We may never know the outcome of our prayer for Carol, and it is likely that we may never see her again, but wouldn't it be cool if when we got to heaven one day, we found her rejoicing because a little boy and his mommy conquered their fears in aisle 9, and said a simple prayer that saved her life? The fact remains that maybe Carol won't notice anything different because of our simple, little prayer, but I'll tell you what, I think after what I've written tonight, maybe I'm the one who received healing in aisle 9.

hmmm...well, the more you read, the more you'll absolutely love me or think I'm totally off my "rocker"! LOL. Either way, I'm back, and standing tall, because my God-given purpose is to comfort, encourage, and speak God's love to you and everyone else I come in contact with. Thanks for being interested enough to take heaven's journey with me! God loves you, and so do I!!!

October 10, 2008

Life Jacket

You are in a boat, calmly sailing in the warm sun. A cool breeze grasps a wisp of your hair and tickles your cheek. A gentle wave splashes upon the side of the boat, leaving a drop of water to play tag with your leg. You are on a smooth ride and have not a care in the world. Life is good, and you begin to doze off in relaxation.

Without notice or warning, storm clouds suddenly begin to suffocate the sunlight and attempt to steal your warmth. A frigid air races to your bare skin in hopes to create a chill that will run through your bones. Life is not o-kay anymore. The waves violently grow higher, smashing against your boat, and tearing your foundation apart...

Somewhere amidst your dozing off and relaxing, a storm began to brew that you didn't see. It snuck up behind you and violated your safe and smooth sailing. Not sure why you didn't see it coming, but suddenly, your boat sat in the middle of a mine field.

...Pieces of your boat are floating away from you. You grab a life jacket from under a seat, put it on, and hold on for dear life. The problem is that everything you reach for is being ripped away by the storm's raging winds. You grab the side of the boat, but it too is being ripped from your hand. Rain pounds from the sky, screaming turmoil as it whizzes by, and shreds your boat to pieces.

You find yourself drowning in astonishment, fear, shock, and despair, as the storm quickly passes on to its next destination. The quick-tempered fury is gone. Like a torpedo on a mission, it blazes by on command without repentance, without apology, and without volunteers to help clear the demolished area.

You open your eyes, glance around, and see mass destruction. The boat you once found safe and secure is shattered and now only slivers of its remembrance remain floating in the waters around you. You grasp for a piece of wood passing by you, only to have it disintegrate in your palm.

Besides the wreckage around you, the atmosphere doesn't indicate a storm just came through. The waters are calm, and a rainbow appears in the sky. You float in an exhausted daze, trying to wake yourself up from a bad dream...only it wasn't a dream. Your life was just shipwrecked...without notice...without cause...the world must still spin in orbit...yet you quietly stare at the debris and the wreckage, somehow knowing that your life will never be the same again.

You close your eyes, too tired to even go on, and lay lifeless on the only thing that got you through the storm: your life jacket.

For this moment, you wish you would have died in that storm, but this too shall pass, and you will soon see the significance behind the one thing the storm couldn't take away: your life jacket.

One day, you will find meaning again, reflect back, and be grateful for the one thing that kept you afloat: your life jacket.

In the many storms that pass through your life, you have the option of putting on a life jacket to protect you from drowning. That life jacket is God!!! When everything else feels like it's slipping from your grasp, God is the one who will never leave you.

For when you no longer can hang on by yourself, it is God who is hanging on for you. Picture this: Once a life jacket is snapped into place securely around you, can you let go and still float??? Yes...Why??? Because it is job of the life jacket to float for you.

So the next time the clouds start rolling in and your boat begins to rock, strap on your life jacket tightly and let God carry you through the storm!



October 4, 2008

Feeling guilty vs. guilty

Boundaries...How to set them~ Where to draw the line~ When to say "no"~ How much is too much to take on? Helping vs. enabling? Dependent vs. Codependent...I don't know the answers. I wish I did, but I believe God gives us opportunities to practice setting boundaries for ourselves and our families.

Am I the only one who has a hard time saying "no"? My heart is to help everyone, so why isn't it o-kay for me to be 'superwoman': doing it all, being there for everyone, helping anyone who needs something, watching everyone's kids when asked??? I say "no" and I feel bad, yet I am supposed to be taking a healthy stand by saying that two-letter word. Can we all say it together: "NO! NO! NO! NO! and NO!" Did anyone else feel guilty???

There are some things that I do not have a problem refusing to do. As my sister says, "You have no problem telling me 'no'. If you can tell me 'no', you can tell anyone 'no'". I will take the risk of letting you into my head for a moment. Brace yourself...the truth is...I would like to tell everyone 'no' right now. I really do like helping people, but right now, I have so much stuff going on with my own family, that I have no energy for anyone or anything else.

So if I have to set this boundary right now to keep myself healthy, why does it make my heart hurt? Why does it make me feel selfish? Why do I feel so guilty? Why do I have to justify to others that this is what I need to do? Why is it hard for others to accept a simple 'no'?

Guilt trips...Ever heard of them??? I have definitely given them and received them. I can't stand them, yet how many times in my life have I done the same thing? How many times have I gotten myself into a predicament and expected everyone to rush in to fix my 'mess', only to be disappointed because that's not the way life always works. How many times have I become bitter because someone told me 'no'? Yes, guilt trips usually work, but is it worth someone doing something for you out of irritated obligation just because you made him/her feel sorry for you? Ouch!

So, with all this expressed, I guess the real question I have to ask myself is: "Who am I making feel guilty because I expect them to be there for my every whim? What expectations am I putting on the ones I love? Who am I laying guilt trips on because I need an immediate solution? What situation am I "freaking out" about, and seeking a solution from others, where God actually wants to teach me a little patience and dependence upon Him?

I love it when God takes my 'self-pity' and turns it into a teaching lesson! I just realized that this blog post isn't about acts of injustice towards me, it's about my injustice towards others. Who am I making feel guilty right now? It's not about, "poor me- I feel so guilty saying 'no'," but rather "Guilty! I am doing the same thing to a few people in my life right now."

I'm not sure that this is where I was going, but it ended right where it was supposed to. I went all over with my thoughts, so I hope you were able to keep up. Basically, I was going to complain, grumble, and whine, but God showed up and asked me to look at my own reflection. Praise God His love never changes and that He's sooooooo patient with us.

Well...this was all a little weird and awkward, but I know God will use it for His glory. I'm just like you, a simple girl, trying to get through life, one day at a time... Before I close for the night, let me ask you something. Is there someone in your life that you need to let off the hook, and give them a little grace??? I know I do.

Father God~ I thank you that You do not expect me to be perfect. I thank You that You forgive me and give me grace when I do something wrong. Help me to love others the way that You love me, without strings, conditions, or judgments. Help me to define and enforce boundaries in my life, and let me know when it's time for me to step out of 'myself'' into the lives of others. Help me to depend on you to be my 'rescue net', and not others in my life who truly can't fulfill my expectations. Help me not to use and take advantage of the wonderful people you have placed in my life, but show me little ways I can bless them with my heart and the words You have given me. Thank You for taking the time to teach me in the midst of my complaining :) Keep me teachable! In Jesus' Name, Amen~

October 3, 2008

"A 'storm' has arrived!"

I wake up this morning to heart-wrenching news, and have to decide if what I said in yesterday's blog still stands true in the midst of this trial. I declare, as I journey into this storm, that "My times are in God's hands."

I find encouragement as I recall God's promises for my life. "God will never leave me, nor forsake me." Hebrews 13:5. I thank God that He..."will not let me tempted (tested) beyond what I can bear..." 1 Corinthians 10:13. I thank God that He will help me..."persevere under this trial, because when I have stood this test, I will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him..." James 1:12. I thank God that I..."do not have to be anxious about anything...that I can present my requests to God, and that His peace, a peace which no human can comprehend, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6,7. I thank God that "God will meet all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19. I thank God that I don't have to..."lose heart...and that my momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs anything. I will fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen (what I am going through) is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. I thank God that..."all of His promises are 'yes' and 'amen'." 2 Cor. 1:20. And finally, I "rejoice in my sufferings (trials), because I know that this suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope...God's hope DOES NOT disappoint us..." Romans 5:3-5

So, again, I declare, "My times are in God's hands!!!"

Heavenly Father, I thank You that nothing is beyond Your control. I thank You that you love me enough to allow trials into my life for the purpose of refining me. Lord, continue to shape my attitudes, actions, and words to those that would please You. May my responses be of joy, not for the situation, but that You will get me through it in one piece AND so that I will be stronger on the other side of this. I thank You for shielding me and being my Provider, my comforter, and my Father. Lord, if something good wasn't going to come out of this, then You would have never allowed it. I thank You that You do have a "plan for my future of hope, not harm." I choose not to become bitter, but better. I choose to rest in the shadow of Your wings, and rest in the peace and comfort only You can provide. Thank You for Your mercy and grace upon me. Be my family's umbrella in this storm, and help me not to step out of Your will for my life and this situation. I thank You that You have promised to walk with me, and that my faith in You will increase as You show Your faithfulness to us. In Jesus' precious name, Amen~

October 2, 2008

Time

Time...time...time! "My times are in Your hands!" Psalm 31:15a

This has been the theme of my life in the past few weeks. People have been trying to interpret the times since the beginning of time. Everyone wants to figure out what's going on in our world today, where our future is going, & where in the world yesterday went. There are people who are stuck in the past (mistakes, regrets, and memories) and therefore, can't move forward because they can't let go of the chains of the past. There are people who are always living in the future (worrying about tomorrow, fearful of what will happen next), and therefore, are afraid to make the next move.

"God gave us today as a present, and that is why it is called the Present." Okay, so it is a worn-out cliche, yet how true it is. I have been guilty of both scenarios above, and right now, I have to admit I am bouncing between the two, trying to live in the moment.

My times are in God's hands. My children's lives are in God's hands. My future is in God's hands. My finances are in God's hands. The timing of my future ministry is in God's hands. Whew! My times are in God's hands!!! I know the Bible is true. I believe every word is breathed by God, yet I don't live like I believe that "my times are in 'God's' hands."

"Why?" My first instinct is to doubt, fear, and worry. The amount of time I stay in that place gets shorter and shorter, yet I know I need to train my mind to immediately turn to God, instead of secondarily choosing to pray. Why is it that I 'freak' out, and then think of praying? Well, this is the journey I am on...learning to trust God, and living in the peace that only His presence can offer.

I praise God that He is sovereign! His plans and timing for my life are far better than mine. "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you, and not harm you, plans for a future and a hope..." Jeramiah 11:13

God created time and controls it. He can alter time any time He wishes to. He gives us time on this earth and with the salvation He offers through Jesus Christ, he gives us eternal life with Him in heaven. We have to realize that He has given us time for a purpose. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

Unless we realize that time really does matter, our days become mundane and meaningless. Each day is a gift from God and we are to respond in gratitude. God's time for us on this earth is coming to an end. Only He knows the timing. God knows what is coming our way in this country. God knows the disasters that may happen. God knows it all because He is in control. Our times truly are in God's hands.

Are you going to face your future with God...or without??? I've done it both ways, and honestly, life without God truly sucks (for lack of a better word). For this time in my life, I will continue to go forward with God, and I will continue to daily proclaim that..."my times are in God's hands" until worry becomes my second instinct instead of my first. When the first works for you, you really don't need the second :)

May God bless you, keep you, and show you that you too, are able to place your time in His hands... Thanx for following heaven's journey, one day at a time.

Trusting God

My son has been pretty sick lately. Even though he's an adult, I still worry about him. I probably get annoying as I ask the same questi...